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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 30, 2012 4:00am-5:15am EDT

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learning a little about literature and what we have to say. i am going to tell you a personal story today, something i normally don't do but this story i am going to tell you is in large part what motivated me to write the second book, "what it is like to go to war". one of the things i talk about in that book is our culture has basically gotten some kind of agreement, i call it the code of silence about what really goes on in combat. what really goes on when our nation asks our kids to go out and kill some other kids.
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i am no pacifist but i think we tend to not want to think about it very much. in my family the same as all families, i was 50 years old when i found out that my father had fought in a battle of the bulge. dad, wasn't that big deal? i get all kinds of stories about normandy and that sort of stuff. our culture are good about don't wind and don't brag. any combat veteran will do you -- to wine and complain about and 4% and the things you want to brag about. and things to start breaking down a little bit.
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personal history, i grew up in a very small town in oregon. a lot being town called seaside oregon and when i grew up virtually all the fathers had been in world war ii. we called it the service back then. that was when your uncle was in the service. our culture is starting to make the change. i don't hear the service anymore. i hear it called the military. i think that is an interesting switch in language that is happening. that we should think about. i got a scholarship to yale and blasted out of the county and joined the marines because that was the thing to do. guys on my high school football team joined the marines. i joined the plc program which is a sort of marine rotc. you get run through boot camp in the summer and people who survive go to college as
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reservists. you don't get paid but you get to be a marine. sounds like a good deal. we don't have to wear uniforms or march around during college. i got the road scholarship and thought i wouldn't be able to go. i wrote a letter to the marine corps and they said that is fine. take it. i was there about six weeks and started to feel really guilty because the guys are served with and kids from my own high school had been over there and lost five boys from my high school in vietnam and there i am drinking beer and having a wonderful time feeling iowa's hiding. i went to the war and ended up in the fourth marines and we were stationed in the jungle in the mountains and the ocean border. and eventually the executive, and finally after i got shot a
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couple times. and how can you get aaron metals. i wrote this book "what it is like to go to war" for several reasons. the audience was young people who were considering making the military career. i wanted to reach them. i don't want any romantics joining the united states military or the armed forces. i want to join with clear heads and clear eyes about what they're getting into. i wrote it for veterans because i have struggled with a lot of things. if aiken struggle with these things and get some clarity to someone reading it, might be helped by it. i also wanted to write it for the general public and particularly policymakers. is important that we understand
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that we are involved very deeply in our wars and we tend to think we are not. i opened the book with a quote from bismarck. one of my favorite quotes. bismarck said any fool can learn from their own mistakes. i prefer to learn from other people's mistakes. i thought if i can put some mistakes down that i learned the hard way maybe someone else could do it. here is where i launch into this story. we were on an assault and going up a very steep hill and by this time it had broken down into chaos. as anybody will tell u.s. and as the first shot is fired, the way it gets done is individuals 18 and 19-year-old marine's figure out how to get there and and that is how it really works.

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